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Part 1


We’re going to be diving into the book of Ephesians for a bit - to help us really get ahold of who this NEW PERSON IN CHRIST JESUS REALLY IS!!  A huge amount of Christians have never really been taught that, when they accepted Christ, they became A NEW CREATION.  Therefore, they just live their lives like they always did and they struggle with prayers not being answered and many other things.  In the first part of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul gives us some information about who we really are now - and why it’s so important to know.  By the way, you can’t LIVE GRACEFLLY while you’re here on earth, if you don’t know, understand, and become acquainted with the new person that you are now.  You are not who you used to be!  But, you have to know it, acknowledge it, and see yourself as God sees you - THE NEW YOU!!!


Ephesians 1:1 - “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.”  Now, Paul wrote this book, inspired and led by the Lord, and he called the Ephesian believers ‘SAINTS’.  The world has kinda’ gotten use to certain well-known Christians being called, ‘Saints’, but the average Christians do not see themselves as, ‘Saints’.  The word, ‘Saints’, is referring to people who have been born again - not just special Christians.  However, there are people in every church who primarily just carry the load for the church.  Those  that ‘carry the load’ are the ones Paul called ‘the faithful in Christ Jesus’.  We are all ‘in Christ Jesus’ but a lot of Christians do not see themselves that way.  There are lots of verses that refer to people “in Christ Jesus,” and there are lots of verses that refer to “Christ being in us.”  So, which is it?  It is both!  What it is referring to is Christians being in unity with Christ.  


Becoming a Christian, or being born-again, or accepting Christ as your Savior, or being saved are all referring to that moment when you believed in your heart that Jesus died to take all your sin, and you said with your mouth that you believed it.  A lot of people, however, just look at it as their ticket to heaven.  They have not been taught that something miraculous happened on the inside of them.  In reality, in that moment, they got a brand new spirit with wonderful FRUIT in there to help them walk through this life here on earth like Jesus did - in love, joy, peace and all those other things.  BUT IT DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY FROM THAT MOMENT ON - A HUMAN BEING HAS TO ACCESS IT.  You do that by speaking, and telling the Lord that you’re grateful for it being there and you want to walk in it.


Now - unfortunately, a lot of Christians haven’t been taught this and they just keep living from their soul, the same way they did before they were saved.  Remember - you are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body.  Before you accepted Christ, your spirit was dead to God.  That doesn’t mean that it did not exist - it means that it had no connection to God because of Adam and Eve’s sin.  Your soul is where your mind, will and emotions are.  And you know what your body is!  Now, when you were BORN AGAIN, you received new life from God.  In other words, your dead spirit is gone and you have a brand new spirit.  God gave that to you when you accepted what Jesus has done for you.


Now - listen to Ephesians 1:2-3 - “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”  First, he starts off by reminding us that ‘grace and peace’ are in our individual lives now.  I think that first sentence is him saying, “Hey - you brothers and sisters - you have God’s GRACE AND PEACE in you now that you’re born again and all you have to do is believe it, receive it, and walk in it!”  Then, he goes on in that next verse telling us that we’ve already been blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing.  Now I believe he’s making a point of telling us that that those blessings are ours - but they’re in the heavenly places - which is THE SPIRITUAL REALM.   That means you can’t see them - but they’re there in the spiritual realm.  HOWEVER, YOU CAN ACCESS THEM BY FAITH.  You have to believe and receive, the same way you got born again.   Remember, when it says, “in heavenly places in Christ,” it means in the spiritual realm.  WE HAVE TO BRING WHAT’S IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES INTO THE PHYSICAL REALM WITH OUR FAITH.   


The Apostle Paul is starting this magnificent letter to the Ephesian church by telling them what they’ve already got!!!!!  Now think about this!  God had Paul write this, knowing that we would be living 2,000 years later here on this earth - AND WE ALSO WOULD NEED TO KNOW THIS.


NOW LISTEN TO VERSE 4 - EPHESIANS 1:4 - “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”  My - My - My!  Before the foundation of the world, through His foreknowledge, God knew every individual who would accept Christ and chose us.  In other words, CHRIST WAS THE CHOSEN ONE, and because of His foreknowledge, knowing that we would choose Christ, we became HIS CHOSEN ONES.


God had the whole plan of salvation worked out before He created the world.  WHAT A MAGNIFICENT FATHER GOD WE HAVE!!!!


SO-O-O-O - WE ARE CHOSEN BECAUSE WE CHOSE GOD’S CHOSEN!!!!!  How can we not surrender ourselves to Him in every area of our lives and just completely give up on self-centeredness living?!  




Now - Ephesians 1:5  just condenses it down to this:  “Having predestined us to adoption as sons  by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”


Now - this is one of the reasons that the Lord wanted us to go through this Scripture, in this class of GROWING OLDER GRACEFULLY.  When we get ahold of this truth down in our hearts - that, before God created the world, He already, through foreknowledge, knew which ones of His created beings would accept what Jesus, part of the God-Head, would do to pay for their sins, and, therefore, already predestined them to be in His family - and be with Him forever in eternity - How can we not yield the right-away to Him - surrender to Him - take His Word into our hearts - AND DESIRE DEEPLY TO LIVE GRACEFULLY EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES ON THIS EARTH.


Now - let me be clear about something here.  He didn’t predestine you to get saved!!!!!  He, through His foreknowledge, knew that YOU, WHO HAD THE ABILITY TO MAKE A PERSONAL CHOICE, WOULD CHOOSE JESUS - AND HE, THEREFORE, PREDESTINED FOR YOU TO BE HIS CHILD.  He didn’t take personal choice away from you.  He just knew which way you would choose.  Therefore, GOD adopted you and me.


Now - listen to Ephesians 1:6 - “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”


Can you kinda’ see why the Lord told me to call this teaching, “GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW YOU?”!


When we begin to see how important each one of us is to our Creator, we really have to come to grips with how amazingly powerful and large His grace is.  In spite of all the bad things all of us have done in our lives, all the bad stuff Paul had done in his life, and Peter in his life, and on and on and on - GOD’S GRACE WAS BIGGER AND HE WASHED ALL THE BAD AWAY.


Now - let me ask you a question!  If God can, through His grace, put all our bad in the past, and can lovingly accept us into His family as His adopted children, and love us, and help us, and use us, HOW CAN WE NOT WALK IN THAT SAME GRACE TOWARD EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO HAS EVER HURT US IN ANY WAY IN OUR LIVES, AND IN SOME CASES, STILL DOES???!  And, if that wasn’t enough, He put all His wonderful blessings into our born again spirits so that we could access them and walk like Him while we’re here on earth!!!  


You talk about GRACEFUL LIVING!!!!!  This is the way God wants us to see ourselves.  But you know what?  You have to GET ACQUAINTED WITH THIS NEW YOU!  That happens by taking in the TRUTH of the WORD OF GOD.


Now - one of the things that is difficult for many Christians is this.  They can believe that God has forgiven them - because, after all, HE’S GOD - HE CAN DO ANYTHING!  But they have a hard time, putting the past behind them, and seeing themselves as NEW CREATIONS.  Therefore, the messes, the quarrels, the hateful words, the bad decisions, the people they’ve hurt, family members that they let down, and on and on - keeps coming up in their minds, and they can’t see themselves as NEW CREATIONS.


Really, the most effective way to overcome this hindrance that is keeping you from LIVING GRACEFULLY, IS TO SPIRITUALLY CHANGE YOUR WAY OF THINKING.


I’m going to read a couple of verses that I have read before but they really are important in this area.  It’s Romans 12:1-2 - “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”


When you come before God and present yourself to Him, telling Him that you want to do things His way, that you want your soul (which is where your mind is) to be transformed - that you want to think like He thinks, and you want to act like He does - truly from your heart - not just to look good - but to do things and say things in life the way He wants you to - and that you know that your mind needs to be renewed - the Lord will just be so pleased with you and proud of you.  You’ll find a desire rising up inside of you to understand His Word better than before.  Reading the Bible won’t be boring or hard for you.  What you’ll discover is a new understanding and enlightenment!  WHAT YOU’LL FIND IS THAT YOUR MIND IS BEING RENEWED - THEREFORE YOU ARE BEING TRANSFORMED!  YOU’LL BEGIN TO THINK DIFFERENT THAN BEFORE.  Don’t just try it for a couple of days and then give up.  Just make a determined decision that you are renewing your mind and, and that you are taking in the TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD.  You’ll begin to think like God thinks more and more, instead of like the World thinks.


Now - Ephesians 1:7-10 - “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him.”


Now that’s a lot to take in - in those 4 verses.  I’m just going to make some comments to kinda’ make this clear.


Paul is saying that we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, which means the forgiveness of all our sins - and IT’S ALL DONE THROUGH THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE!  There is no other way to be forgiven of our sins and God has already done it.  If they keep coming up in your mind, it’s not God reminding you of them.  Your mind just needs to think different.  Just think for a minute and imagine Jesus on that cross.  He was paying the price for all our sins - they’ve been wiped away - you don’t need to keep remembering them - Jesus doesn’t want you to.  He’s already paid for them.


Now - when He talked about ‘the riches of His grace abounding in all wisdom and prudence’, He is saying that there is nothing in all of this world that can take away sin, like His powerful grace which came pouring into your being, erasing the bad and putting a brand new being in there.  This new ‘being’ (or spirit) has the ability to understand things in the spiritual world - and to see from God’s point of view (wisdom and prudence).


Then, this wisdom and prudence, will help us comprehend the things which have seemed difficult to understand before - which seemed mystical - and will help us see God’s will, which seemed hidden to us before.


The last verse of that portion of Scripture is really referring to the end times when everything is going to be different than it is now.  I’m not going to get into that - Pastor Gary was dealing with that in last Wednesday night’s message.  But to relate it to what we’re talking about, let me say this.  When we are walking in such a close intimate relationship with the Lord, and we’re walking in HIS GRACE IN OUR LIVES, He will show us things to come, but we will not have to be afraid or worried, or confused.  We can walk through our lives with “the peace that passes understanding.”  Walking in His grace not only frees us from the past but it also fills us with a peace that you just can’t explain - it’s a peace that is free from fear.


It also talks about “In the fullness of the times, He  might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him.”  Now think about it for a moment!!!!!  WE ARE ACTUALLY ALREADY BLESSED TO KNOW JUST A TINY LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT OUR FUTURE  FROM THE LORD IS!!!!!  We don’t have to be nervous or afraid - we already know that for ever more, we will be together and with the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY - CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE.  WHAT A WONDERFUL THING TO BE ABLE TO LOOK FORWARD TO - INSTEAD OF BEING FEARFUL!!!!!


Now listen to the next verse - Ephesians 1:11 - “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”  Now brothers and sisters - that is a promise from the Word of God - and the Word says in another place, “All His promises are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’. (That’s 2 Corinthians 1:20.)


Now - the truth from the Word of God is that we have already received an inheritance from our Heavenly Father.  He has let us know in advance that He has already given us our future with Him.  What a miraculous and absolutely wonderful TRUTH FROM THE WORD OF GOD!!!!  WE HAVE AN INHERITANCE FROM THE HOLY ONE AND WE CAN COUNT ON IT BECAUSE IT IS STATED IN THE WORD OF GOD AND GOD CANNOT AND WILL NOT LIE!!!!  


Now - that truth itself is enough to help us see ourselves from a different perspective than we used to.  We are heirs of God.  When we read the Bible, we are reading about what our Heavenly Father is like, how He thinks, what He does (and doesn’t do), how He sees people, what He’s already done for His adopted children (you and me), AND HOW MUCH HE LOVES US.


That knowledge should help us see ourselves the way He sees us.  When, we begin to really get ahold of this truth, deep within our hearts, it helps us REALLY GET ACQUAINTED WITH THIS NEW CREATION THAT WE ARE!!!  It isn’t a fairy tale!  IT IS THE TRUTH.  


Now - that doesn’t mean that we start getting an inflated ego, or think that we’re a big deal, or that we’re better than others - NO - NO - NO!!  It means that we begin to see what God is really like and what He has really done FOR US!!  We didn’t do it - and we didn’t deserve it!  But we don’t have to go through the rest of our lives in the mully grubs, thinking that we’re worthless and useless.  We can go through the rest of our lives grateful to our wonderful Lord and Savior for what He has done for us.  AND - that’s what God wants us to do!  It is His desire and His will that we see ourselves as He sees us.  And - you know what that brings?  It brings a graceful life that is not hard, or difficult, or full of pressure.


Gracefully living for the rest of our lives here on earth becomes common for you - you don’t even worry or feel troubled, like you have to do this!!!!!  Experiencing GRACE deep within you toward others, no matter what they say or do, becomes just the way you live - WITHOUT ANY EFFORT AT ALL!


That is the way that God wants all His adopted children to live on this earth - and He’s given us the power to do it - it’s already in our new spirit.  WE JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE IT AND ACCESS IT!  It’s not about trying real hard to do and say the right thing!  It’s about being so tuned in with the Lord that deep inside you, you just act like He does, talk like He does, feel like He does, love like He does, help like He does - and on and on.  That isn’t just for special people.  It’s for all of us who are His adopted children.


This Scripture verse that I am going to read just really comes alive when we really begin to walk through our lives in His GRACE - 2 Corinthians 5:17 - “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”


Brothers and sisters - we really, really, really are NEW CREATIONS - THE OLD HAS GONE - ALL IS NEW.”  BUT - - - WE HAVE TO ACCESS IT!!!!!!  The Lord wants us to see ourselves the way He sees us!  


Sometimes we just need to sit down alone with the Lord and talk to Him about this - telling Him that we believe His Word and His promises and we want to walk through the rest of our lives the way He sees us and we want to see ourselves that way!  The Lord knows each one of so individually - so He understands where you’re coming from.  


Getting ahold of this truth is a life-changer.  Now I haven’t done it perfectly - nobody has!  But I remember when this truth began to come alive to me.  I had been such an introvert all through the first part of my life  and to begin to see myself like I’ve just been talking about was really a challenge for me.  But like I’ve said many times before, I began to learn that surrendering to the Lord when you know that you know that you know that that’s what He wants you to do, is the key to walking forward in the Christian life - bit by bit by bit by bit!  You find out that if the Bible says it, it’s the absolute TRUTH.  You just have to believe it and do what it says.  Surrendering to Him brings peace into your life and it also teaches you how to walk with the Lord, more and more and deeper and deeper.






Scriptures for this lesson

Ephesians 1:1-6

Romans 12:1-2

Ephesians 1:7-11

2 Corinthians 1:20

2 Corinthians 5:17

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